Jockey Hamilton Wins First Race at Eclipse Champion Sunday

Jockey Hamilton Wins First Race at Eclipse Champion Sunday

Something Awesome, Unbridled Juan Heading Back to Laurel
Racing Returns Thursday with Rainbow 6, Super Hi-5 Carryovers

LAUREL, MD – Jockey Weston Hamilton won his first race as an Eclipse Award champion Sunday at Laurel Park, guiding P & H Stables and C & B Stables’ Weekend Flyer to a 3 ½-length win in the fourth race.

Hamilton, 20, was riding for the second day since being honored as North America’s top apprentice jockey, leading all bug riders with 118 wins and $3.5 million in purse earnings. He began his career as a journeyman Dec. 22.

Weekend Flyer ($7.40), a daughter of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, broke her maiden in her fifth career start and second of 2019 for trainer Charles Frock, winning the $25,000 maiden claimer for 3-year-old fillies in 1:39.45 for one mile over a fast main track.

“I love winning here. This is my home. It feels good to win at home. It felt good to just come right back and win one,” Hamilton said. “I’ve got to keep the ball rolling and keep riding hard.”

Hamilton was at Gulfstream Park’s Sport of Kings Theater in Hallandale Beach, Fla. to pick up his award, becoming the 11th Maryland-based rider to earn the Eclipse as champion apprentice, joining a list that includes Hall of Famers Chris McCarron (1974) and Kent Desormeaux (1987) and contemporary Victor Carrasco (2013).

“It definitely is an honor and a blessing to be a part of that list. I’ve heard and seen afew of them ride and they’re really good riders, so it’s an honor to be included with them,” Hamilton said. “It was just real exciting. Honestly, I almost lost it a little bit. I had my whole family there and everybody was looking at me and it was a big deal for me and my family and everybody.”

Something Awesome, Unbridled Juan Heading Back to Laurel

Stronach Stables’ multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Something Awesome exited Saturday’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in good order after racing in contention for six furlongs before dropping back to be 10thbehind City of Light.

The 8-year-old gelding was doing well enough Sunday to return to the track for trainer Jose Corrales, who said both he and 6-year-old two-time stakes-winning stablemate Unbridled Juan will return to Laurel Park by the end of the week.

“Something Awesome came out very good. He ran with them. He’s an 8-year-old horse. We jogged him today and he looked fresh, so it didn’t take as much out of him as I expected,” Corrales said. “He ran good all the way into the stretch. I got excited, and then something bothered him.

“When I talked to Edgar he said when he was making the last move coming to the quarter pole, another horse bumped him a little bit and took his air out or something like that,” he added. “I was thinking he bled, the way he stopped because he shouldn’t have stopped the way he did. I was thinking we could run third. But after Edgar told me that, he said he didn’t want to keep riding because he thought the horse bled.”

Unbridled Juan ran fourth, beaten a total of two lengths, in a three-way photo finish behind winner Aztec Sense in the one-mile Fred W. Hooper (G3) on the Pegasus undercard. Breaking Lucky was second, a neck ahead of Fellowship, with another head back to Alex Cintron riding Unbridled Juan.

“He’s good. I think he was mad the [race] was not a little bit longer. He came back like he didn’t even run. He was so fresh,” Corrales said. “The mile is a little bit short for him. That horse, we’re really looking forward to a big year with him. He’s going to have a year like I had [in 2018] with Something Awesome … as long as we go longer. A mile and a sixteenth and up, he’s going to be all right. He’s a nice horse.”

Notes: There will be carryovers of $1,680.45 in the $1 Super Hi-5 and $1,551.30 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 when live racing returns to Laurel with an eight-race program Thursday, Jan. 31 which begins at 12:30 p.m. Multiple tickets with all six winners Sunday each returned $102.60.